Published on: April 10, 2024

President’s Initiative to Empower Citizens by Providing Education, Land, Housing, and Business Rights

  • Immediate Relief: 294 Houses Allocated for Kajimawatte Fire Victims.
  • Future Support: 1,996 China-Sponsored Houses to be Distributed in Two Years.
  • Long-Term Vision: Blueprint Unveiled for 50,000 Additional Housing Units.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has affirmed his commitment to empowering the people and fortifying the economy by ensuring access to education, land, housing, and business opportunities. Stressing the importance of broadening economic participation, he highlighted its role in fostering a resilient national economy.

These remarks were made yesterday afternoon (09) during his presence at the national event in Modara, Randiya Uyana, where flats were distributed among residents of Kajimawatte whose houses were destroyed in a fire. Accordingly, in 2010, 294 homes in this housing complex were allocated to those displaced by the Kajimawatte fire.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe;

As I addressed you today, my heart goes out to the resilient residents of Kajimawatte, who have endured over a decade of unimaginable hardships. It was a poignant moment as we swiftly provided these flats, with Mr. Ravi Karunanayake’s unwavering support.

It’s my earnest request that you handle these houses with care and responsibility. Please refrain from mortgaging or selling them, especially after enduring a decade of hardship. I urge you to safeguard these homes as if they were your own life.

Within two years, we’ve managed to cultivate a social atmosphere that feels considerably lighter than it did back in 2022. Those who endured the hardships of waiting in lines for food, gas, and fuel now lead lives of relative normalcy. It’s evident that the people of Colombo bore the brunt of these queues, alongside residents of flats and estates who faced their own challenges. I acknowledge that our tax policies have added to the cost of living, but thanks to your resilience, we’ve been able to bolster government revenues without resorting to borrowing or printing money. This achievement enabled us to raise government employee salaries by Rs. 10,000 starting this year, while also witnessing a strengthening of the rupee.

I perceive the offering of free land deeds and homes to those who have endured hardship as a gesture of gratitude. Looking ahead, we have plans to provide over 50,000 houses to our people in the coming years. Additionally, the houses provided by the Chinese government during my tenure as Prime Minister in 1996 will also be distributed within the next two years.

Historically, land rights and housing rights were not granted without cost. However, we aim to change this narrative by empowering our citizens with the rights to education, land, housing, and business. This strategic approach will enable individuals to directly contribute to our nation’s economy, fostering growth and prosperity for all.

Minister of Tourism and Lands and Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Harin Fernando;

Today, under the leadership of President Ranil Wickremesinghe, you can breathe in an environment ten times better than that of 2022. In those days, people struggled to secure three meals a day and endured long queues and hardships. Despite the promises made by past leaders to prioritize the welfare of the people, there was a lack of parliamentary leadership willing to take on that responsibility. However, with just a single seat in parliament, Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe accepted the challenge and engineered an economic turnaround that revitalized livelihoods.

Within a mere 23 months, the nation has witnessed a resurgence, evident in bustling activities across towns like Pettah, Maharagama, Badulla and many other areas. This festive season marks a testament to the revived economy, showcasing a remarkable recovery.

One can only speculate on the trajectory of the nation had President Ranil Wickremesinghe not embraced the challenge of economic reconstruction. It begs the question: why did the opposition fail to engage in the discourse on economic revival back then? Their focus seems limited to economic theory, devoid of practical understanding.

Moreover, the President has taken proactive measures, including a significant wage hike of Rs. 10,000 for government employees, demonstrating his commitment to the welfare of the workforce, which no other government has done.

Today, as the national currency strengthens and tourism flourishes, it’s clear that international confidence in the President’s initiatives is driving this progress. As you return home, consider the significance of the abode you inhabit. Let us not forget that repeating past mistakes jeopardizes not only our own future but that of generations to come.

Senior Advisor to the President on National Security Sagala Ratnayaka;

A country that faced a societal crisis just two years ago is now making a remarkable comeback. The President spearheaded efforts to establish fundamental economic stability, bolstered by robust international relations and the implementation of necessary regulations to avert future crises. Today, tourists flock to our shores with confidence, a testament to their trust in Sri Lanka’s economy.

Furthermore, the President has diligently crafted strategies to accelerate economic growth, thereby enhancing the standard of living by increasing income levels. In 2019, 2.5 million tourists visited our country—a milestone that has now been surpassed. Plans are underway to double this figure to five million annual tourist arrivals, with an aim to attract tourists spending approximately $500 daily.

Moreover, the President has actively engaged in negotiations with India to optimize trade dynamics, particularly in facilitating imports and exports between South India and Sri Lanka via the Colombo port. Efforts are also underway to foster a modernized agricultural sector and promote renewable energy, with a focus on attracting increased investments to drive economic prosperity.

Under the Urumaya program, land allocation initiatives have been instituted, alongside ongoing endeavours to provide housing for citizens.

These endeavours, accomplished within the past two years, have not only steered the nation clear of economic turmoil but have also laid the groundwork for a revitalized economy. Through collective effort, we can further fortify and advance Sri Lanka’s economic trajectory.

Former Minister Ravi Karunanayake;

After a prolonged wait of fourteen years, the residents of Kajimawatte finally see justice under the leadership of President Ranil Wickremesinghe. Despite delays and previous administrations’ neglect, President Wickremesinghe has spearheaded the construction of new houses, investing Rs. 12,855 million to replace those lost to fire. Importantly, the residents now own these houses outright, relieving them of the burden of monthly rent and allowing them to redirect funds towards essential health and education needs.

Moreover, a significant housing initiative is underway in Colombo, with 53,800 flats set to be distributed to residents within the next two months. As beneficiaries of these housing schemes, individuals are urged to maintain their residences responsibly, ensuring cleanliness and orderliness.

President Wickremesinghe’s unwavering commitment to his policies, even in the face of political transitions, is evident. Recognized for his efforts in economic development and nation-building, he stands poised for a potential return to the presidential arena as a non-partisan candidate, with the backing of those who recognize his contributions. I am confident that the people of Colombo will rally behind him, delivering their support at the polls and potentially reinstating him to the highest office in the country.

Mrs. Hilma Mukesh who spoke on behalf of Kajimawatta house owners;

It has been two years since we were able to breathe freely. Before that, people had to stand in queues for kerosene, milk powder, and gas from morning. Back then, we faced the dilemma of which queue to go to prior to going to work. At that time, no leader came forward to take over the country. But President Ranil Wickremesinghe accepted that challenge and eliminated the queue era and gave the people the opportunity to breathe freely.

We thank the President for restoring the country’s economy as well as providing us with such houses. After our houses burned down, about 200 families lived in a small hall for 14 years. Our little girls grew up inside that hall. In those conditions we lost our privacy. That is why we are very proud of the house that we are given today. Also, it must be said that not charging a monthly rent for these houses is a big relief for us. It must be said that we feel very proud now that we have a house that we can call our own.

Minister of Ports, Shipping and Civil Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva, Governor of Sabaragamuwa Province Navin Dissanayake, Member of Parliament A.H.M. Fowzie, Secretary to the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing W.S. Sathyananda, Director General of Presidential Trade Union Affairs Saman Ratnapriya and many others attended this event.


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